A 450-pound calf became the third confirmed wolf kill in Lassen County Sept. 19, and an 1,100 pound cow found Sept. 13 was reported as the fifth possible/unknown cause of death in the county, according to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife website.
In addition to the three confirmed kills and five possible/unknown deaths, the state agency reports nine cows died due to other causes and two deaths were probably caused by wolves since the agency began reporting such events in November 2015.
Confirmed wolf kill
According to the CDFW website, a ranch hand discovered a partially consumed carcass of a 450-pound calf on public land in western Lassen County the morning of Sept. 19, and investigators estimated the calf died earlier that morning or the night before.
CDFW reported, “Multiple bite marks and scrapes with associated significant subcutaneous and muscular hemorrhage. The hemorrhage is evidence of predation as it shows the bite occurred while the animal was alive.”
As evidence the predator was a wolf, CDFW reported, “Bites and scrapes with associated hemorrhage were observed on the upper right front leg, the upper rear left leg, right side of the throat and under the jaw. Wounds at these locations are consistent with typical wolf attack locations. Significant portions of the left front and right rear leg were too consumed for additional observation.”
Tracks at the site suggest a minimum of three wolves were present, and the collared Lassen Pack wolf was at site about 6 a.m. Sept. 19.
Possible unknown kill
A member of the public found an 1,100-pound cow carcass on private land in a meadow in Western Lassen County Sept. 13 and notified the Lassen County Sheriff’s Office. The LCSO contacted CDFW and the livestock owner, and CDFW investigated the carcass Sept. 14.
According to the CDFW website, the cause of death was reported as possible/unknown because “due to the condition of the carcass, the cause of death could not be determined.”
According to the CDFW report, portions of the hide remained, but “No muscle tissue or vital organs remained… ” and no evidence of a predator attack was observed.
According to investigators, the cow died the week preceding Sept. 13.
Wolf tracks and scat and bear scat were observed near the carcass. The Lassen Pack wolf with the tracking collar was about four miles away from the site Sept. 12 and was at the site at 3 a.m. Sept. 13, the day the carcass was discovered.